This weekend, my study of Doubt has brought me to the topic of Fear. Why do we doubt ourselves? What, exactly, is it that we fear? Are we afraid people will really get to know us? Afraid they’ll stop loving us because of one tiny (or HUGE) mistake we made yesterday (or even something 5, 10, or 20 years in the past)? Are we afraid that if they see our messy house, they’ll think we’re unworthy of their friendship? Or maybe we’re afraid of the unknown. We think, “If I take this new job, what will happen next? I don’t know, I can’t see the future, so maybe I’ll just stay in this job that I hate because it’s comfortable here.”
There really are a lot of different things that we could be afraid of. I’m not talking about spiders, heights, snakes, public speaking, and that type of thing. I’m talking about those deep down fears, the ones that truly stop us from becoming what God created us to be. These fears are sometimes brought on by the experiences we’ve had in our lives (a “friend” breaks your trust by telling someone else your secret, an abusive relationship with a parent or spouse, another Christian judges you instead of loving you through a period of sin or struggle). Sometimes, these fears are simply brought on by a misunderstanding of who we are in Christ. It can be hard to really find the root of our fears, but I believe that no matter where they come from, God wants us to work through them. He wants us to learn to trust Him, to see ourselves as He sees us, and to move forward from our pasts into the future He has planned.
How do we do that? How do we let go of our fears and hold on to Him? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have this all figured out yet, myself. I believe that truly knowing what God thinks of me is a good first step. So, what does God see when He looks at me?
- He sees His child, whom He loves. 1 John 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
- He sees that I have been redeemed. Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
- He sees the new me, not my old self. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”
This is not a comprehensive list. Not even close. However, I think it’s a good start. When I learn to believe these truths, not just in my head, but also in my heart, my fears begin to subside. I begin to have a willingness to step out of my comfort zone, to be more authentic in my life. I begin to share my struggles with someone – my pastor, my spouse, my Bible study group. Yes, I am picky about with whom I share my inner struggles. I can’t, and won’t share them with just anyone, and I don’t believe God wants us to do that. I do believe though, that by sharing with one person, I begin to release the grip I have on my fears, and begin to hold more tightly to the promises God has for me.
Question: What is one of your fears? What is a truth that you can begin to cling to as you release your fears?